John A. Barber, the founding member of the firm, received his law degree in 1897, and began the general practice of law that same year in Sangamon County, Illinois, associating in practice with Samuel D. Scholes, Sr., a veteran of the Union Army. Subsequently, in 1902, Clayton J. Barber joined his brother and the firm adopted the name Barber & Barber. The firm grew with the addition of Alton G. Hall, and the sons of each of the initial partners, Charles F. Barber and Henry R. Barber, in the 1930s. Each of these three attorneys was a member of the firm for over 50 years.
For over half a century, the firm was located in the First National Bank Building on South Fifth Street, directly southwest of the former State Capitol Building, which at that time housed the Sangamon County Circuit Court. Barber & Barber built a reputation as one of Springfield’s leading firms, and was particularly known for its probate and real estate practice. The firm handled all of the legal work associated with the construction and development of Lake Springfield in the1930s.
Bernard G. Segatto and Carl O. Hoffee, who both graduated from the University of Illinois Law School, joined the firm in 1957 and 1968, respectively. Prior to joining the firm, Carl Hoffee clerked for the Illinois Supreme Court Justice Harry Hershey and practiced with another firm in Springfield. The firm’s emphasis in probate and real estate matters continued, and the firm developed several specialty practice areas, including condemnation, libel defense and media law, oil lease and development, and banking law.
In 1971, the firm relocated to its present location at the northwest corner of 9th & Monroe. In the 1960s, the State had repurchased the Old State Capitol and undertook a major restoration effort. As a result, the County built new court facilities at 9th & Monroe to house the Sangamon County Circuit Court. Barber & Barber built a new law office on land directly across the street.
In 2008, the firm adopted its present name, Barber, Segatto, Hoffee, Wilke & Cate.
Today, the firm has five partners. In addition to Carl Hoffee, Bernard G. Segatto, III and Randall W. Segatto, both graduates of Southern Illinois University Law School, joined the firm in 1985 and 1987, respectively, and practiced with their father until his death in 1994. R. Kurt Wilke, a graduate of Indiana University Law School, and the son-in-law of Carl Hoffee, also joined the firm in the 1985. Matthew J. Cate, a 2000 graduate of Southern Illinois University Law School, joined the firm in 2001. Prior to joining the firm, Matthew J. Cate clerked for the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District. The firm also has two associates at this time. Randy Paswater joined the firm in 2008 and has focused in litigation. Brittany Kink Toigo joined the firm in 2011. Both are active members of the bar.
Since 1980, Peggi L. Weymouth has been employed with the firm as a CPA and certified valuation analyst. Barber, Segatto, Hoffee Wilke & Cate has developed a reputation in the area of taxation, handling preparation of income tax, gift tax and estate tax returns, as well as audit defense and representation before the Internal Revenue Service and tax courts.
The firm today has a broad general civil practice including litigation at the trial and appellate level, while continuing to concentrate in the major practice areas of real estate, taxation, estate planning, business transactions, and related litigation.